All day today I have either read on blogs, heard on the radio, seen on TV or spoken to some of my students about Armistice Day and it made me realise that apart from my post about St Martin’s Day there should be another blog today:
about living with guilt.
You see, as a German living in England I always feel uneasy around this time of year. A lot of people don’t understand why I feel like I do and it isn’t that easy to explain. Why should I feel uneasy? Like everybody else in England I am extremely grateful to all those soldiers during WW2 who put a stop to Hitler and his ideas.
But I’ve been brought up feeling guilty about the war. Not by my parents, thank goodness, but by society.
As a child I didn’t learn about WW2, our history lessons stopped after WW1. One kept quiet and didn’t talk about it AND one was supposed to feel guilty for what happened during the war!
All well and good, except, I was born 12 years after the war!
Should I really feel guilty about something people two generations before me did? The way some people react, it seems the answer is ‘yes’.
Before I moved to England 28 years ago I read an article in a magazine about the abuse some Germans in England got, and I was horrified. Luckily I have encountered very little of that, although, when I left a secondary school where I had been teaching one student wrote ‘good riddance Nazi bitch’ on the table. I didn’t expect to see something like that so many years after the war!
I agree that we should never forget, but please let’s start and forgive, especially people who were born after a conflict … and that doesn’t just apply to Germans!
Do you agree?
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